Shrinking My PC

20 Aralık 2020

I have an old desktop computer with relatively mid-range specs. I use it for my Plex server and some weekend coding projects. I like it because it’s modest but capable. Four core CPU (Intel i5-6402p) cooled by Cooler Master Hyper 212X, Asus H110M-D mATX motherboard, 16 GB DDR4 RAM, 240 GB SSD. No GPU. I run Manjaro on it and I’m very happy.

My only problem with this computer is that the case is just too big. It lives in a Zalman Z3 Plus case and it is gigantic – measuring 39 liters in volume. Since this build does not have a GPU, there is a lot of empty space inside that case. Also, I always wanted to have a smaller case below 20 liters but couldn’t justify buying new parts just because I wanted to own a small case.

I was always looking around to find small cases that are just big enough to accommodate my components. Well, as it turns out, cases that would accommodate an mATX motherboard, a tower CPU cooler and an ATX size PSU are all too large (around 30 liters), so there was really no benefit of buying a new one. I was giving up on my hope until one day I saw this “mini-ITX” case: Everest Cubic-252. This model looked oddly familiar to me. After some Googling, I realized it’s the same case as Kolink Satellite Plus.

The odd thing is Everest Cubic-252 is marketed as only mini-ITX compatiable whereas Kolink Satellite Plus can accommodate some mATX boards. According to the specs (which even Kolink’s own site does not have) this case could fit motherboards up to 22.6cm x 18cm. I went to Asus’s website to check the size of my motherboard and it is… 22.6 cm x 18.5 cm. Half a centimeter wider than supported.

After even some more Googling and watching everything I can find about Kolink Satellite Plus, I learned that it can accommodate tower CPU coolers and ATX power supplies as well. It’s only 13.8 liters. Too good to be true.

I made the decision to buy this mystery Everest case hoping that a) it is really the same case with Kolink Satellite Plus and everything I learned about is true for the Everest case as well and b) it would (somehow) fit my 0.5 centimeter wider than supported motherboard.

Well, it all went according to plan and I could fit my mATX-ish motherboard, tower CPU cooler and ATX PSU in there all nicely.

Not much space between CPU cooler and PSU
Literally no space between motherboard and PSU – but it fits.
CPU Cooler clearance is good even with the drives installed on the top bracket.

There were some problems though. IO shield and motherboard did not really line up. I don’t really understand how that happened so I have to use it without an IO shield for now. But the bigger problem was the stays on the case that holds the motherboard in place didn’t align with the screw holes on the board. So I could not fix the board in place. This a big problem if you’re going to move the case around – which I plan to do. These two problems are probably related.

As you can see, it’s a bit of a squeeze but I’m comfortable with it. This is a modest locked CPU with a not a lot of heat output. So temperatures are not a worry for me at this point. Overall this looks good.